Arts & Life
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This article was published 11/2/2015 (2006 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The second of two teenage girls charged in connection with a barn fire has been sentenced to probation.
Defence lawyer Andrew Synyshyn said the girl didn’t mean to set the barn on fire, but he acknowledged the danger.
“The fire, it is a serious, serious matter,” Synyshyn said. “This is something where someone could have been very seriously hurt or killed, and where in fact a lot of damage was done.”
Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services had previously confirmed that the fire happened at the site of a group foster home licensed through the agency.
It’s one of a series in the Brandon area, run by one organization, where troubled teens are placed.
The girls who set the fire — who can’t be named because they’re youths — were residents of the rural home where the barn was located at the time of the fire on May 9.
Crown attorney Kaley Tschetter told court that the girls had asked their home’s house parent if they could have a bonfire and he said no.
About an hour later, the house parent noticed black smoke coming from the back yard. He went outside to find the barn on fire and the two girls running toward the home.
They said they were sorry, and had just wanted to have a bonfire.
One girl had grabbed two cardboard boxes from the foster home and stuffed them with dead grass. She placed the boxes within feet of the barn and the other girl then lit them on fire.
Court had previously heard that it was windy that day, which may be part of the reason the flames spread to the barn.
The girls were then distracted as they chased a rabbit, Tschetter said. When they noticed the barn on fire, they tried to put it out but it was too late.
The barn was destroyed, along with $207,000 worth of farming equipment that belonged to three different farmers.
No one was injured.
In November, the girl who set the boxes on fire pleaded guilty to mischief and she received one year of probation with 50 hours of community service work. She had no prior criminal record.
On Monday, the second teenage girl pleaded guilty to the same offence and other crimes.
Besides the fire, she stole a bottle of whisky from a Brandon liquor store on May 15. She and a boy then stole another bottle of whisky from a city liquor store on Aug. 28.
On the second occasion, foster home staff called RCMP to report that two residents had been drinking while away on free time and had returned to the home intoxicated.
Staff also reported to police on Oct. 27 that the girl was not home, in breach of a curfew on her release order. She was later found intoxicated by group home staff, in breach of another condition of her order.
Also, in December, the girl ran away from a school that is reportedly run by the organization that runs the series of foster homes.
A woman who followed (it’s not clear what her connection was to the organization or school) was punched by the girl.
Finally, on Dec. 21, she breached her curfew again when he an two other individuals took a taxi from the area of the rural group home into Brandon.
Based on a recommendation from Tschetter and Synyshyn, Judge Donovan Dvorak sentenced the girl to 18 months probation with 115 hours of community service work.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
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